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Sunset Junction to Celebrate 30th Anniversary with 5 Stages of Music this Weekend

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Bodies of Water at the 2008 festival (see more photos here) | Photo by Koga/LAist

30 years ago former Beverly Hills hairdresser Michael McKinley did something different, something police said wouldn't work. He said he would produce a festival to ease tensions between the gay community and latino gangs with rival gangmembers working as security. What happened was that some 250,000 people came out to the Sunset Junction Street Festival in Silver Lake. No incidents were reported.

That's according to a rarely seen 2003 documentary on the festival by Peter Jones, who is mostly known for executive producing A&E "Biography." Jones followed the planning of the 2001 festival, revealing inklings of what years later turned into a major controversy: forcing people to pay to a festival the city said should be free with request for donations. That, combined with other complaints from neighbors and businesses, came to a head a couple years ago with the city threatening to not grant permits for the festival unless solutions were brought to the table. Things worked out , the festival went on successfully and a second street festival, the Silver Lake Jubilee, was beget by community members.